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tv   [untitled]    May 5, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT

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as president obama visited ground zero and finishes a chapter in american history another begins this the tale of how osama bin ladin was killed it was so many different stories coming out of the white house which one of these will go down in the history books. and as world leaders gather to talk about libya's future is nato going above and beyond is original mission if ground troops move in will there be hell to pay some experts think so. and the united states is the country for the people by the people of the people when it comes to
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voting for the president does the electoral college system get in the way. that evening it's thursday may fifth at eight o'clock here in washington d.c. i'm laurin lister and you're watching our t.v. a u.s. president barack obama visited ground zero today in the wake of osama bin laden's death but elsewhere conspiracy theories are flora shing in the wake of the white house's bungled p.r. message over that killing now yesterday obama rolled out releasing the photographs of the dead bin laden and others have emerged of his dead son and courier reportedly but is inconsistent seas abound is the p.r. fumbling just adding fuel to a brewing conspiracy fire artie's marine important i reports. the week began with an international news bombshell proudly dropped by the united states after a firefight they killed osama bin laden and took custody of his body there was. a
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female who was in fact in the line of fire. that reportedly was used as a shield to shield. from the incoming fire by tuesday a big blunder a major backpedaling in a room with bin laden a woman bin laden's was a woman rather bin laden's wife rushed the u.s. assaulter and was shot in the leg but not killed america grabbed the world's attention after announcing the assassination of osama bin laden yet failing to get the back story the u.s. has also priscilla taken a rapid rise of conspiracy theories what they did is they told the bunch of different stories they took some stuff it's rock and it's just the conspiracy machine if we're to oil or not fire a blaze that in flames after failing to deliver on promises of providing the public with proof we are going to do everything we can to make sure that nobody has any
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basis to try to deny that we got some with not i don't think there was any question that ultimately but for the graph for would be presented to the public we have no need to publish those photographs and it's now with the bill some of bin laden was killed us president barack obama refused to release any visual evidence confirming bin laden's death for fear it would be used to spark anti-american violence critics say this leaves the public with more questions than answers and when they say we don't want to show the photos because we don't want to inflame people we're fine how about bringing in certain members of the press along with a panel of unrelated forensic identification experts who can come out and say we've studied this the world was able to study the execution of america's. other enemy in two thousand and six when the hanging of saddam hussein went viral on the web shortly afterwards meanwhile in martin's quick burial has been the target of
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conspiracists and act u.s. officials say was in keeping with muslim tradition it was returning to. here is the requirement in islamic law the individual vary but in twenty four hours as many have noted washington broke its own rule when the bodies of saddam hussein's sons were embalmed and held for eleven days after being killed by u.s. forces there's so many inconsistency is in all of this that it's incumbent upon the obama administration to be as forthcoming as they can be about exactly what they do and do not know and did and did not know or in this case know what to say before you speak here not just one week ago it was barack obama at the center of a two year conspiracy that die down once america's leader released his part certificate but now obama's actions surrounding the killing of osama bin ladin have paved the way for a whole new set of myths and questions surrounding the transparency of the u.s.
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government bring up war in iraq r.t. new york and joining me now to discuss this is lieutenant colonel anthony shaffer a senior fellow at the center for advanced defense studies author of this book operation dark heart he joins us now now tony you've actually been on the inside or been a counterintelligence officer you've done counterterrorism operations what do you think is behind this flip flopping and why do you think the white house is releasing the photo this is head over to finesse of the high school debating society that we have done this i think there was an uzi asked to rush to tell a great story don't get me wrong you know the seal team six everything that happened textbook good story problem is it wasn't complete one of the principles that i live by most people who understand how the media works you want to tell the story first. you want to tell it as as best you can with the facts that you know you're not speculating because obviously if you speculate can you get it back track and you've lost your narrative and that's what's happening here so right now
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because of the essentially the old adage is if you're digging the stuff you know if you're if you're in a hole stop digging i think that things are going to go but it's too late because what they're now opening the door for is the narrative to be picked up by someone else and i suspect strongly that the pakistanis with bin laden surviving widow will be the ones telling the story from here on which is not our best interest you know that's that's a good point that you make and the pakistanis have come out saying that someone bin laden did not resist and that nobody was harmed there was no resistance do you think that by house is flip flopping gives credence to these arguments and gives credence to the claim that this was an extrajudicial killing well yes and yes you know there were some extra. legal actions here you violated the country's sovereignty and you did this essentially as an assassination squad just own up to it just say ok so what happened on one of those in the minority currently right now that believes we should have done everything we could to bring them back alive it would be no doubt right now if we had
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a not with that said they've now created this space they've got dispensed with the birth certificate now they've got obama gate or they've got to really set down and try to explain this and it's a point in time i don't care what jay carney or else as it has to say this was done in the name of the american people the american people have the right to know what they did what we did and i think that's why it's necessary especially with the butchering of the narrative to put all the information out there that they can be put out there was no reason to put all the information about what they seized of obama's house the thumb drives everything else like come talk about that we need to talk about the fact he said well i used it and most importantly we're just doctors are cowards what are we doing next they should be if they were smart they get an area focused on them ok let me just back up because you have you know when you were in combat in afghanistan and you were. are searching for senior al-qaeda leaders including you and you've done so what do you think really happened and was the goal do you think they always went in saying we're taking him down because all the
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details that come out just make it sound sketchy and sketchy or dumping a body and you know him not being armed and it's kind of the whole thing at the time i was there the objective was to capture i'm not sure if the policy changed since then my guys are telling me that they were discouraged from capturing because of all the complexity that goes with capturing someone this is what has ration has been very bad about wanting people captured because what do you do and i would go with mr panetta as comments on this and i would think that what he said was accurate that basically they were told to kill and i mean he said that on the american television so with that said it's pretty clear to me that the imperative here was not to bring him back alive at all possible was it was an weapon near his bed i think so did he go for according to reports i've read probably not i've not been able to talk to any guys i trust or anyone on the team yet but i'm going to hopefully talk to folks find out what the real story is but if you bring out here for a while we'll see what happens but idea here is that they need to clean this up where
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no i want to know you know from your experience also being on the end side sounds like there was a lot of strategy and preparing for this operation so when there have been a p.r. strategy going along with that how it works well yes i know the folks who did this raid do have sat with the guys who do this and are fact one of the guys i over there doing this right now and he and i have talked several times worked together back in the old days with that said there their strategy and what they do is very professionally to what they're doing a problem is this became politicized because of the white house for better or for worse the strategy whatever they did on this one out the window when president obama and the administration want to take credit for so they lost all control so any strategy the special operations command did which i know they do a thorough job and that was part i'm sure it's pretty good is that was part was part of their planning it was thrown out because the. white house decided to do it their way this often happens in government ok the white house blames it on the fog of war and do you kind of agree that they were just trying to get every detail they
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could at least as i said in my facebook post today we create our own fog in this case we actually get clear on following one of the principles of war is you assume you don't know all the facts you don't know because you weren't there therefore the there were lots done well but other than the other situation other saying oh there's no video it doesn't work so there's something wrong i mean they so what you need to do is basically state the facts but the basic inner organs who were watching when and leave it up and come back to get the full story and then put out what will benefit you and this is this is common sense and then do you think the united states should release the photographs of looting there's no doubt in my mind there's no reason not to based on the fact that we have uday and qusay displayed right we had a car we had a guy and iraq displayed it his and his you know deaths essentially lucky looked like he looked when he was actually killed at this point there's no reason i can think of and i don't buy this we don't want to inflame the muslim world look i was doing plain to inflame and i don't are rightly and when the narrative gets changed by a lot of folks in pakistan i think we're going to see
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a lot more inflamed going on than any one photo or set of photos would ever have done for us you know the united states continues to essentially be in a covert war in pakistan it's one of the reasons why leon panetta says the u.s. needs to keep giving money and aid that it gets to pakistan but after this osama bin ladin killing we've seen pakistani officials come out saying you know condemning it or criticizing it pakistanis very upset that their sovereignty was violated where does this relationship go from here and you said the u.s. overstepped their sovereignty and as of the for every we know the u.n. didn't approve it obviously in the pakistanis that know about it apparently well to two things let's look at this very realistically first book and display we really knew this in zero three that the pakistanis were playing both sides of the fence so our own policy leaders have been naive or or worse. the fact that they're not playing ball this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt you know they're incompetent or in cahoots either way it's bad with that said we were there who's not playing ball that i think i can i as i says that they
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were giving intel on this was some of the it was not really that they couldn't get away with it that's it and with that said one of the things we've recognized and we want to talk about is that a lot of the money we're giving them is going right back into their nuclear weapons program and that and that we could watch programs aimed at our friends here only and verify that i don't have it or that you just merely has proof that my folks had told me that so the problem is any time we give them money we cannot use it for the purposes which we give it to him for and install not from these other clandestine programs of their own making and the problem is you cannot continue to fund. a regime which will not play ball and frankly we're in danger in our own our or indian allies in process of what we're doing it's more a more complicated though i'm more you get into it not simple to unravel but i want to thank you for doing your best to do the job that was a tenet colonel anthony shaffer a senior fellow at the center for advanced defense studies now meanwhile leaders from nato and the arab league met today in italy to plan at the political transition following the departure or ousting of libyan leader moammar gadhafi now
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so far coming out of this three day meeting the u.s. is looking to take some of libya's frozen assets to fund the rubbles but it still may grips libya and nato spokesman is saying the use of ground troops may be the only way to move the situation forward archies daniel bushell reports. the rulebook months of libya has reached the according to needs of libya's leader could who could go a few years they'll get defensive positions he will civilian casualties from. continued simone's spokesman this solution scented groom troops. the u.n. security council should adopt a new resolution on libya was aleutian one nine hundred seventy three there's not invisible man operations we need a new resolution. and forces plan that all along sr leading us law professor clearly what we're seeing are unfolding here in libya is a pre existing war players are by nato by the british by the french by the
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americans to a fair movie everything now is boring affording to play and which is why i believe that since they have failed to depose gadhafi with the steps are so far the next stage will be moving into a ground invasion and nato powers have jukes the international community into supporting war no one or them protecting civilians was the claim that grabbing the country's resources is the real goal this is one of the most the. reason transgressions of rights of nation national sovereignty and international law that we've seen in the post world war two period the west the us and france and britain have been called berkeley according to the evidence that's leaking out covertly arming the opposition to gadhafi in hopes of grabbing control of the oil and then year in from parts of libya the libyan government promise is still for nato if it
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sends in ground troops some agree such a war may be tougher than expected we will see increased activity not only in the air but also on the ground and maybe this will solve the problem from the perspective or a major countries maybe it will simply be we're into a. bombing from thirty thousand feet coalition soldiers feel fairly safe since he was active this war putting troops on the ground risks not just more civilian killing but as well the further away they get from high tech and they and the nearer they get to know tech then the greater the danger of casualties on both sides turkey china and russia have criticised the bombardment of libya for ms to say love rob thanks nato has already called for the first un resolution to maintain a no fly zone and hints the second resolution to move in grown troops may not come
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as easy now several nations feel tricked if anybody wants to ask for this one day it will come to the u.n. security council we will discuss trying to understand what is planned because the negligence from the mandate that we are seeing now are enough to learn lessons with international opposition on the rois need two states face an open field tossed to make the case for more war for britain's prime minister will dealt sending ground troops to libya his defense secretary admitted to parliament they planned exactly that but you have members or good at the number of civilian deaths from nato bombing a drawing likely to welcome escalation of the conflict altie london and for more on the possibility of ground troops in libya earlier i spoke to alan cooperman he's a professor at the university of texas at austin news author of this book the limits of man a tarion intervention genocide in rwanda now he told me why he believes sending ground forces into libya is not only
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a bad idea but is mission creep and not authorized under the u.n. mandate. i think that president obama sort of revealed his hand early on even though the u.n. resolution only authorized military action to protect civilians. president obama said from the beginning that qaddafi had to step down and leave the country so it's clear what president obama wants he wants regime change and a negotiated agreement is not necessarily going to get you regime change and so that may be why we're seeing instead of nato and the united states in the lead pushing this sort of military escalation i think it's a terrible idea both because it's going to increase the humanitarian cost there's going to be more civilians noncombatants killed and wounded and moreover it's going to help bring to power at least in part of the country this rebel force which has
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elements of radical islam assist in it so it's not good for the people of libya and it's not good for the u.s. national interest either it's clearly not authorized by the u.n. resolution which to authorize all necessary means to protect civilians. and so protecting civilians would be stopping forces that are in the process of attacking civilians trying to assassinate a leader is not within the realm of protecting civilians so you know international lawyers can say whatever they want but i think a normal person reading that resolution would say that it did not authorize assassination how bad of somebody around the world didn't like the way barack obama is prosecuting wars in iraq iraq or afghanistan or libya and they said well then barack obama is a legitimate target let's assassinate barack obama would brock obama feel that was
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ok and how that if they bombed the white house and killed his wife michelle or one of his daughters my. sascha we say well that's a legitimate target i understand it of course he wouldn't so if it's not good for the goose it's not good for the gander if it's not legitimate to attack the u.s. in that way then it's not legitimate for us to attack libya in that way and when i say also in this case it was nato i don't believe it was a us we nation or the us craft that launched the attack but it was nato were part of nato and it was it would byes and i personally think when you do something you would rise to should acknowledge it and apologize for it as alan cooperman professor at the university of texas at austin and author of the limits of humanitarian intervention genocide in rwanda now meanwhile today that is in the united kingdom voted on a referendum that could change the system they used to elect members of parliament votes won't be counted until beginning tomorrow but electoral reform is expected to fail in the u.k. however the prospect at least been raised so is it time to look at changing the
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u.s. electoral system critics of electoral college used to elect the u.s. president argue it doesn't always honor the popular vote for one i spoke to two men with different viewpoints on this training but is the director of the save our state's project and he says though it's not perfect the electoral college system works here as a justification what you discover when you look at this electoral system that's been around now for more than two hundred years is that the electoral college actually works very well and i think in balance you know no electoral system is is probably going to be perfect but in balance the electoral college at least serves the cause of having national politics rather than regional politics and having a system that creates some political stability along the way we you know i think those things are very important political system and i think the electoral college to serve this very well the bottom line is no election system is perfect candidates
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always here and or in in we we can't hit the electoral college again states. sort of the utopian idea of what we would like elections to be like what we should do is look at actual single member district elections that's a direct election and we know that if you look at governors' races if you look at other countries where they do have to write elections for for their executive candidates still pander to particular regional interests if you do away with the electoral college what would be more likely is is they have candidates handling you know probably more than the even you now but you would be focused on large population centers los angeles new york chicago the big cities would gain in clout in candidates would make more promises there rather than in those swing states and again at least a sling state is a place that is getting that focus because it's evenly balanced it's relatively moderate and i do think that that produces some viri healthy side effects and the
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reality is it again you can only understand how politics works in any system if you look at how it's worked over time it comes down to what what is really valuable when the electoral college was created it's it's based on the same mathematics they go into making up congress it's it's actually the second most democratic part of the constitution congress all the i did the house of representatives being the most directly representative and the senate being the least with the electoral college in the middle right the electoral college does bring along these added benefits it prevents regional candidates we saw in the law the presidential election of eight hundred eighty eight the electoral college prevented a candidate from winning in that case lee election based on a radical regional support rather than national support. however one of the criticisms that critics point to is that the electoral college has allowed failings for example the two thousand election when al gore won the popular vote in this
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country but did not win the presidency because of the electoral college vote not the belief of trying to england you just heard from the director of the save our state's project but scott drexel is a senior consultant at national popular vote and he says the electoral college is winner take all system is really the problem and that's what needs to be reformed here is what he said. electoral college under the constitutional. provided for body and we're going to keep that in place but what we're going to do is change the oh the winner take all system the problem is never been the electoral college and we're going to leave you like your college in place but the winner take all system is neither in the constitution nor was even discussed in the run up to the constitution it's actually come about as is the way the electoral college is developed before we get to that why not of all of the electoral college and let citizens vote for their president one of the reasons it was formed you know back when the constitution was written was because they didn't think that average
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citizens had the information to vote for a present to elect the president i mean now clearly the internet and campaigning materials voting materials that same argument you know can't exactly be made in the same way why not get rid of that system kind of the beauty of the national popular vote compact is that it preserves the original intent of the founding fathers but why is that necessary why not allow direct or not prosy it because that's not what the original concept intent of the founding fathers was when when the constitution was written the constitution vests the power to award electoral votes in the states . to go about now in abolishing the electoral college through a constitutional amendment process would be the constitutionally appropriate way to do it this is the way that the founding fathers intended this is the way the constitution has laid it out and in fact states like massachusetts have changed the way they elect the president eleven times of the history if you look at mean nebraska they don't elect the president by winner take all system these congressional district system we feel that
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a changing back to the founding fathers and i want to touch on that their reasoning for setting up the electoral college does itself hold because historically looking back at things i've read about it and it was to it was a concession that slave holders lawmakers they didn't want slaves to have any influence and number two it was because they didn't think that people had the knowledge to vote for a president and to be able to directly allow. the president did devote a reason tells them well i don't think that's the important point i think that to do that. really the nash popular vote plan doesn't seek to address that question it doesn't seem to change the constitution at all rather i think we have to work in government and a question does that original thinking that again i think that's an entirely different debate why we're talking about the electoral system when we're talking about the winner take all system the winner take all system is completely outside the constitution in that's what we're looking to change changing the constitution if someone else were to go about that that's an entirely different fight is entirely different question we have here i'd like to think that because you don't
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believe that the constitution should be altered i think that when you have an opportunity to work within the framework of the constitution before changing the constitution itself we should work within that framework whatever intentions we might ascribe to the founding fathers some centuries later so you don't think that wrecked oral college as allocate it now the problem is not the electoral college is the winner take all system and that's what we're seeking to change ok so what's wrong with a winner take all system the winner take all system essentially is the impetus behind kind of what the problem is in presidential elections three quarters of the electoral map is ignored every four years in as a result when you're ignoring wide swaths of the electoral map you're ignoring states when you're ignoring states or ignoring people when you're going people you're ignoring their issues and you're focusing on regional issues and we're not electing the president says we're electing the president of the battleground states and we'd like to change that ok so so how would that work so essentially with the national popular vote plan does it takes any state and says this state will award
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its electoral votes so the winner of the popular vote across all fifty states all need to take a fact when enough states have passed the exact same bill to account for two hundred seventy electoral votes the reason for that last piece is you would never want any state to kind of go it alone to throw all its electoral votes in the system it wouldn't work quite as nice as we'd like we couldn't we couldn't take a big stick. californians say we're just going to divide it by congressional district and we're going to do a national vote system instead what you do is wait until you had enough of a national conversation to take that step together as a nation ok under that plan would it have allowed for a situation like we saw in two thousand where a president did not win the electoral college vote but did win the popular vote so you have a popular vote and president who does not become president but that still be able to have not and the national popular vote would guarantee that the winner of the national popular vote is the pros the cons of present united states every time ok
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so how can you be sure that this is the right time to do this one of the arguments against changing the system is that you know it's been in place for hundreds of years yes there may be some problems look at the critics bring up but for the most part and nothing tragic as you know happened there's throughout the system it's allowed for voting to go on each time a president is to be elected changing now that may require money or information and possibly costs for a runoff elections what makes you think that that would be the right time it is especially when we have such an issue with deficits and that and our national government well certainly good point but i think the biggest challenge to a national popular vote change to a new system is really kind of educating in the people who are more change averse and i that tends to be legislators in the polling we've done across this country we polls on average over seventy percent so the people want this and i think that's why the times appropriate with regard to fiscal impact at all we're really not
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going to see that when you have a presidential election that guarantees the white house to the winner of the national popular vote you actually have less problems to litigate you have fewer issues like we ran into in two thousand in florida where a change of just five hundred seventeen votes in one state can overturn a five hundred seventeen thousand. and thirty seven thousand vote margin nationwide so i think we're actually having fewer problems than need spirits' under the current under the current system if we niceness probably vote it also i don't see any any school impact at all and there's been several state studies that have shown that as well all right i want to thank you for coming in and giving us your perspective on that issue that we've got drexel senior consultant for national popular vote and that's going to do it for now for more on the stories we covered go to our t. dot com slash usa or check out argue tube channel at youtube dot com slash artsy america it's a good videos up there now including a great sit down interview with republican presidential can.

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